Pink Tax: African women spend an unfairly high amount on lifestyle products compared to men

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Healthline defines Pink Tax or Gender-based pricing as “an upcharge on products traditionally intended for women which have only cosmetic differences from comparable products traditionally intended for men.”

Pink Tax is a variation of the gender pay gap, indicating that women spend way more money than men on beauty supplies and lifestyle needs.

The World Bank has found that throughout a female’s life, she spends more than a man.

According to a report by the financial institution, it was discovered that the cost of a female’s baby clothing item is higher than those for the male counterpart but as she grows older, she realizes that she needs more products like sanitary pads, different types of underwear, bras, bralettes, shaving sticks, body wash, drugs, skincare, hairstyling, and other feminine needs. The sad thing is women do not know that they are being ‘taxed’.

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs report showed a price disparity between 794 products targeted for both genders. In every industry they examined, they discovered that goods marketed to women and girls cost more. In the report, researchers examined 106 products in the toys and accessories category, and it was discovered that products for girls were priced 7 per cent higher.

Statistical data in Africa does not exist, but in the US, The Balance conducted a study and discovered that “Razors targeted at female consumers were 9% more expensive, while shaving cream was almost 10% more expensive. Hair care products like shampoo and conditioner were roughly 5% more expensive when marketed toward women than men. Lotion was the product with the most gender parity, with a price difference of about 1%.”

A South African author also wrote about this disparity in Mail and Guardian saying, “Schick Quattro razor blade cartridges for women were R5 more expensive than those for men. And, if you are a mature man, 50ml of Nivea Men’s Active Age moisturiser, which “reduces wrinkles and firms skin”, will cost you R11 less than 50ml of Nivea’s Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream for women.”

In Nigeria, A pack of BIC Silky Touch (3 pieces) shaving razors for women cost about N4500 ($9) on Jumia while Blue Gillette (3 pieces) cost about N3500 ($6) for men. Vaseline Lotion for women costs N5800 ($12), while men would pay N2700 ($6).

A complete exemption from all types of tax is how to increase the accessibility of locally produced and imported sanitary products.

This year, a Nigerian fintech company called Get Equity revealed that they send sanitary pads and ‘period care packages’ to all their female employees every month. This is a good thing because it reduces the monthly expenses their female employees have to spend. Imagine if all companies did that?

But more than that, there is a need for accessibility of these pads to underprivileged girls. This should be a government-sponsored initiative, leaving it in the hands of well-meaning individuals does not work.

Furthermore, making these products more functional instead of focusing on the packaging which just increases the cost, is necessary for the production companies.

Every woman knows that beauty and lifestyle expenses eat deep into her income; it would be great if fair prices were ensured and the burden lifted from women’s shoulders.

*The views expressed in this article are the views of a contributor at Business Insider Africa. It does not represent the views of the organisation Business Insider Africa.

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